By Andreas Weber, innovation expert and print analyst from the Gutenberg City of Mainz
Reading Time: 5 minutes
- The medium print does not have any problem today and in the future. Moreover, it is not in any crisis caused by others.
- There is nearly no other sector that presents itself in the public eye so awkwardly and badly as the printing sector.
- Print buyers highly appreciate good counseling and contemporary, proactive market communication specifically on the topic of how printed materials can be designed particularly effective, appealing and interactive. However, this type of service is in short supply.
The good old Johannes Gutenberg has tossed and turned in his grave for ages. While in 2000, the American business elite elected him “Man of the Millennium” and Silicon Valley called him the innovator of modern times (digital pope, Jeff Jarvis, dedicated the book “Gutenberg the Geek” to him), the printer guilt has denied and practically mothballed him.
Printing has nearly joined the rank of “non-words”. Despite the fact that worldwide hundreds of thousands of companies still make their money by producing printed materials. Many in the commercial printing business are looking to describe their work and what they offer new: whether it is media production respective marketing service provider or cross-media service provider, they increasingly try to avoid being associated with the term “print”.
Is this necessary? No! — Therefore, it is the goal to deal with the subject matter of “print” in any form other than it has been dealt with for the past 15 years.
- The (alleged) end of the Gutenberg galaxy marks the new beginning of “limitless print communication” — for hundreds of years, printed materials were the measure of all things, firmly in the hand of professional printers and publishers. Beginning in the 1980s, desktop publishing and the motto “Everyone his own Gutenberg” cracked their monopoly. Since, totally new players have taken the lead. Key points: a) Apple and Google developed the first e-print functions as new standards, so millions of new smartphone and tablet users can print their digital contents as needed. b) Specialists among others for Facebook and Wikipedia, who come from the development sector for intelligent search engines and algorithms, have created solutions to configure social media data by mouse click and print them automatically (first and foremost pediapress.com from Mainz). In addition, smart online photo print solutions are used by millions of any age groups!
- Reality contra misbelief: The thesis “Internet kills print” is false — this is what publishers and print professionals believe and they convey this message to their customers by having debated about the “print crisis”, of which Google supposed to be the culprit, for years. The following are arguments against this belief: 1. Print publishers caused their crisis themselves and they did not even use innovations in print, and 2. “digital natives” are positive toward print if the contents and the communication offers are relevant, personal, and useful. (See the following reports: http://valuetrendradar.com/2014/09/09/valuecheck-the-internet-is-not-the-death-of-print/ und http://valuetrendradar.com/2014/10/03/valuecheck-newspaper-publishers-theyre-left-crying-in-the-corner/)
- Communication deficits paralyze the printing industry — the attitude “our products speak for themselves” has an effect as numb feet. Printing companies are ossified in their routines. Even the most innovative products and solutions, which many can offer, are marketed in accordance with the “Old School” principle: using sample maps and machine demonstrations for children and other interesting parties. There is nearly no printing firm that knows how to use professional online and social media communication such as targeting marketing campaigns as shown in an exemplary fashion in England moo.com or snapajack.com . (See YouTube video “How to innovative print business”). — In this context, not only the art of self-portrayal is what counts but also networking such as the example of Print Three from Canada shows.
- Innovation often takes place in print shops while the interfaces to the customers are mostly rather “retro”! — For more than 10 years, print shops have been under a significant cost pressure; however, they are primarily concerned with themselves to optimize their internal processes in order to produce efficiently. Only few of them focus on communicating the effectiveness of their print products, which they (can) produce for customers, offensively and attractively. Social media monitoring shows how much customers, who order printed matters online, have to criticize (they are unhappy about usability, multiple debits, a lack of color reliability, etc. see “printing research results: The Beauty and The Beast”).
- There is nearly no other sector that presents itself in the public eye so awkwardly and badly as the printing sector. This must change drastically! — For hundreds of years, print shops have not needed lobby efforts and industry communication. There were monopolists and there was no way around them. Moreover, they could sail on the lee side of machine suppliers. Just like IBM and computing, particularly the label “Technology by Heidelberg” guaranteed high customer confidence. This changed drastically no later than drupa 2012, which brought the breakthrough in digital printing. Many new players are no relevant. Nearly of them come from the imaging and IT sector. However, these companies are so large and different that individual print shops can hardly create any image transfer. This is not really terrible because with today’s media print shops can position themselves easily and effectively. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus/YouTube and LinkedIn are the best aids, which provide the use of their infrastructure for free. It just requires a bit of training of how to handle it! — By the way, it is a bit embarrassing as well as inspiring that the world’s largest print buyer, IKEA, campaigns for print by imitating the Apple communication expertly. So far, more than 17 million people watched this video! Benchmark!
Conclusion — our take: “Something old needs something new!”
The printing sector should refocus on its old strength and the Gutenberg value system to be able to handle innovation in communication. This is the only way to survive structural change or structural break. The medium print does not have any problem today and in the future. Moreover, it is not in any crisis caused by others. This is a homemade crisis. It is the outgrowth of business goals, user promises and communication that is no longer appropriate for customers and no longer up-to-date. No one has to do without the expertise, the passion, the flexibility of competent printing experts. Print buyers highly appreciate good counseling and contemporary, proactive market communication specifically on the topic of how printed materials can be designed particularly effective, appealing and interactive. However, this type of service is in short supply. This can easily be changed. Right? — Please check as well pour Value Guidelines for innovation marketing communications via Social Media.